Lomba Burung Kecepret
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
A few weeks ago, on the island of Lombok, I was returning home at night when a group of men on the side of the road caught my attention. They were engaged in an activity extremely rare and strange for me. It seemed they were performing a rite or some sort of ritual. All of them were aligned facing the same side.
Very peculiar, sharp and repetitive sounds broke the silence of the warm night filling me with intrigue because I had never heard or seen anything like it in my life.
So I got off the road, turned the engine off, dismounted the motorbike, prepared the camera and slowly approached the scene. This is what I saw.
This happened to be a bird competition that is becoming more and more common in Lombok. A group of bird owners gather together with their birds, some of them with more than one and compete in several rounds until they get a champion of the night.
I understood that the competition is to see which bird best obeys its owner. Each cage occupies a numbered place painted in white hanging by a strip of wood or metal painted black and under spotlights that shed an intense light. The owners line up in front of their respective birds along with several judges with tablets in hand and the competition begins.
Apparently the judges record how many times the bird obeys the owner. Every time the bird hears its name, it must trill. Seems that the judges set a number for the round, for example 8, the owners call the bird by name 8 times and the birds must issue 8 trills in rapid succession after each call. The owner/bird pair that achieves it, accumulates points.
Then, I did some research and learned few things. Kecepret is the onomatopoeia of the quail trill and the Indonesian name for quail. I've never seen this bird before, they are pretty, almost like cute little pets.
Scenes like this have been on the rise in several communities in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.
In several villages west of Lombok, Gunung Sari, Lingsar and the surrounding area, the Kecepret competition is even scheduled to go from village to village.
Basically it is a bird that is expected to generate profits by selling the eggs, but today this bird can also produce benefits through its voice.
Now Kecepret birds are getting more and more admirers. The price of quail has doubled and even quadrupled. On the other hand, the winning bird of the competition increases in price and will be more expensive.